Thursday, May 30, 2013

My name is GMP and I am a sex addict

During my first meeting with my addiction recovery group (a group which is not affiliated with the LDS church in any way, more on that later), everyone introduced themselves as either a sex addict or a sexaholic.  When it came to be my turn to share, I followed suit.  The words came out much more easily than I would have imagined.  It felt reassuring somehow to identify myself as a sex addict.

I think I already mentioned that I'd had a panic attack on the drive home from my first addiction recovery group, henceforth shortened for my love of acronyms to ARG.  My second ARG meeting (haha, I love it) was as good as the first, but the drive home was almost as bad.  I didn't descend into full-on panic, but I felt nervous and edgy.  My third meeting was better in all regards.  I enjoyed sharing, even though I shared some pretty awful stuff, and I felt good driving home.

I haven't begun to work the 12 steps yet, nor have I read any of the literature provided to me at the first meeting.  In that regard, I acknowledge that I'm not really part of the program yet. All I've done thus far is attend the meetings, feel the solidarity and enjoy the hugs at the end. That's been a decent gesture toward getting into the 12 steps in earnest.  So that's next on my agenda.

Part of the impetus toward working the steps was a realization I had this week after I'd spent a full twelve hours on Craigslist swapping pictures with other guys. My internet activity meant I hadn't slept all night, and this after driving back to Idaho from Colorado the night before. I'd gotten less than four hours sleep in the prior 48, and none in the prior 24. I hadn't eaten in over 36 hours, I'd lost five pounds in the previous week, I hadn't done laundry in nearly a month, I'd missed several assignments for school  and work. I had lost control, relapsed to a point to which I'd never been before.  My mind, at least pre-orgasm, was consumed with one thing and one thing only; have the best sexual experience you've ever had, and make it count.

I was living a life completely bereft of integrity and was deliberately avoiding my Bishopric and Sunday School president so I wouldn't inadvertently leave clues as to my indiscretions. I'd been lying to my parents and roommates, blaming homework and hobbies for my Internet use. Putting aside spiritual health, I had signed my name and my word to a level of honesty I wasn't living.  If I was going to be an addict or if I was seeking sex, then great, but I wanted to have some integrity about it.

At that, I screwed my courage as best I could and made an appointment with my bishop.  I prayed to Heavenly Father and told him that I was prepared to accept the consequences for my actions, consequences that included church probation or disfellowshipment and potential expulsion from school. Just so I don't mislead anyone into thinking the church comes down on pornography too harshly, there were other choices I'd made, the details of which are not important to you, that go beyond the realm of your traditional punishments for pornography use.

At the end of our meeting, I waited for the bishop's judgment on pins and needles.  I had broken my word when I signed the BYU Honor Code and was prepared to have my student status revoked. I acknowledged to him that I didn't necessarily feel religious guilt, but was ashamed that I'd made myself into a liar. I was prepared for the worst.

Thankfully, his judgment was that I should cease to take the Sacrament for some time and that I should make sure to prepare for my Sunday School lesson well in advance so I could testify of whatever parts of the lesson I knew were true.  I was confused.  He wasn't going to release me as Sunday School teacher?  He wasn't submitting my name for church disciplinary action or my case to the Honor Code office for an academic ruling?

The answer to those questions was no, and his only condition was simple. As long as I complied with that (very very easy) condition, it would be okay.

I left his office with somewhat less guilt, a lot less shame, and some hope for the future. I know I'm going to screw it up before I get healthy, but I'm looking forward to working the steps. And I'm going to try really hard to measure what successes I do have.  There have been lots of people of all different life paths cheering me on and reminding me to be realistic and human and for that I am grateful.

[EDIT: This was my 200th post. Happy 200th issueversary, Gay Mormon Pioneer]


  1. I'll follow along with you. I can definitely understand the guilt you feel. I also understand the helplessness that these feelings bring when you repaps when your intentions are good. Sex is a very complicated emotion and can drive you to do things beyound what you really want for yourself. I would give you a hug if I could....Adon

  2. Good for you, and happy 200th!

    Per my understanding, you wouldn't be in trouble with the Honor Code unless you were caught in what you were doing and dragged into some kind of cessation. If you voluntarily confess--virtually anything--I can't imagine getting expelled.

    I'm curious, though: does the above sound correct to others? Does anyone have or know about other experiences that conform to that expectation or deviate from it?

    1. My brother and I had a very strict bishop in one of our old wards and he was called into a disciplinary council for something very, very minor. They didn't end up taking any disciplinary action, but his experience had me worried, especially since his thing was alone and he's straight. Acting out with someone else and being gay both kind of make things a little more serious it seems.


Be nice, mmmmkay? I allow anonymous comments, but not anonymous (or even attributed) douchebaggery. The Gay Mormon Pioneer's tolerance for hate and venom are incredibly low, but his love of communication and debate are high, so have an opinion, but be kind and gentle when you share it.

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